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eMacs Can’t Say, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s not my fault.”

I sat in shock. It was two in the morning. After hours of trying to connect, get through, make things work. I heard those four words:

It’s not my fault.

From my computer!

I didn’t know my new eMac could speak, let alone chant disclaimers.

I hit the desk, threw the printer installation manual on the floor and walked out.

We’d hit an impasse. She, because my eMac had a girl’s voice, stonewalled me. She knew four words that shut me down, kicked me out, ruined my night.

Honestly, I didn’t know if I could trust her anymore.

I certainly was questioning whether I liked her a single little bit.

Just a few days before, we had opened that glorious box from Apple and followed the simple instructions on the sleek, one-page insert.

This machine would revolutionize our lives! It was so simple it was practically plug-and-play.

But many accessories and external devices, like my printer, had very confusing and problematic connectivity issues. I am not technical. I’m creative. I’m blonde and female and artistic. I felt completely out of my element, while my more technical, decidedly male, Asian husband gave up and peacefully snored on the couch. He was oblivious to our heated and now one-sided argument.

I was ticked. I stomped upstairs to get a beer.

Yep. But we didn’t have any. So, I heated up a mug of coffee in the microwave and mentally ran through what I’d done to get us to this point. How could I make things right again? What steps could I take to get us communicating again? What was I doing wrong? What could I do right?

I knew one thing: I had to go back down there and try again.

Having a healthy, working relationship with my computer is a necessary part of life as a writer. We had to talk it out, calmly. I had to pay close attention to the details of connecting and slowly take the proper steps to resolution.

I poured cream in my coffee and let the first sips do their magic. My brain began to massage my emotions, working out the knots that our argument. I was wound into a tangle like the assortment of cords and cables that covered my office floor, and the more I tried to fix the situation, the worse the knots became.

What I really needed to do was rest. I needed to allow myself some time to decompress, sort things out.

With a deep sigh I resolved to make the trip downstairs. I entered her room and faced her. The screen was black — she’d gone to sleep. She was done defending herself.

Issues remained unsolved. But we weren’t angry anymore. We knew we’d be right here for each other in the morning. We’d have fresh coffee, a fresh start. Another shot at making things work well.

I roused my husband from the couch, turned off the lights and went to bed as the rising sun crept through the edges of the curtains.

Conflict happens. Tensions between close relations can become so intense they snap the cords that connect us, leaving us dangling, desperate for resolution. Furious and hurt.

We shout “It’s not my fault!”

“If you’d only….”

“You never listen.”

“I can’t seem to do anything right, so I’m done trying.”

We shut down, shut each other out. We remain in our own corners of the ring, nursing our wounds, rubbing our bruises, stubbornly refusing to meet in the center.

It’s okay to take a breather, give each other some space to feel and let then let the feelings ebb a bit. It’s alright to stop thinking about winning or wording or wielding the other onto your side of the argument. It’s necessary to trust that the answers will come when the emotions are calmed.

But, remember, it’s vital to be there in the morning. To resolve an issue, any issue, takes commitment, not simply to get along or to work it out. To really reconcile we need commitment to the other person, commitment to the relationship and commitment to love each other well.

{The other day, I read and shared Michael Hyatt’s post on Ten Difficult, But Really Necessary Words. This post is written in response to that.}

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